Monday, January 7, 2013

Patricia McLinn - HBS Author's Spotlight

Today our blog puts the Spotlight on award-winning and best-selling Author Patricia McLinn. She is the author of 28 novels. Patricia has started a new mystery series as P.A. McLinn. She is the Past-President of Novelists, Inc.

Author Genre: Romance, Women's Fiction,Mystery

Website: Patricia McLinn
Author's Blog: P. A. McLinn
Twitter: @PatriciaMcLinn
Goodreads: Check Out Goodreads
LinkedIn: Check Out LinkedIn
Facebook: Check Out Facebook
Pinterest: Check Out Pinterest

Author Description: I'm so proud my readers say my books blend "laughter and tears" with characters who "live and breathe." That's what ties together my romance and women's fiction books as Patricia McLinn and now a new mystery series starting with SIGN OFF as P.A. McLinn.

I hope you'll enjoy my 28 award-winning and best-selling romance and women's fiction books, along with the non-fiction title WORD WATCH: A Writer's Guide to the Slippery, Sneaky and Otherwise Tricky. (see below)

SIGN OFF, published in August 2012 under P.A. McLinn, opens the mystery series "Caught Dead in Wyoming." Elizabeth Margaret Danniher's high-flying TV news reporter career crash-lands in tiny KWMT in Sherman, Wyoming after she divorced her power network exec. As she tries to find her feet in a new place and new life, she is drawn in to the case of a murdered sheriff's deputy.

As for me, I had a great Midwestern childhood, though I did run away from home once - heading for Hollywood. Alas, Dairy Queen came before the train station, seriously depleting my capital. Otherwise I surely would have been the only Oscar-winning screenplay writer under ten.

Instead, I followed the normal education track: BA and MSJ from Northwestern. Then, not quite as normal (especially way back then), I became a sports writer. It's great training for writing - dialogue, character, motivation, conflict, goals. (All that went into my Winter Olympics book, THE GAMES.)

SPOTLIGHT Questions and Answers with the Author

Let’s start with what’s next. Can you tell us the timeline of your next release and give us a little tease?

The next release will be the boxed set of the “A Place Called Home” series. That should be out later this month. And in February I’m doing a special project with some writing buddies that’s still hush-hush . After that it gets a little hazy of what will be out when.

I know for sure that the follow-up to mystery “Sign Off” will be released this summer in print and digital by Bell Bridge Books. That’s Book 2 of the “Caught Dead in Wyoming" series, and continues Elizabeth Margaret Danniher’s adventures in Sherman, Wyoming. Plus, I have two or three more original works (some romance, some mystery) on my 2013 goals list.

You have a great Twitter following (over 10K). How important are your social media relationships to your writing success? How much has the Internet changed your book launch process?

Uh, book launch process? Am I supposed to have one of those? Mostly I try to remember to Tweet and post on Facebook when a new book is out. I am better about getting a newsletter out, but that’s because my assistant organizes and formats it for me – bless her!

The serious part of this answer is that I don’t know if the social media has been important for what writing success I’ve had. Do readers seek out an author they’ve encountered in social media? Or do they seek out on social media an author they’ve encountered through books? I don’t know – some of each, perhaps? What I think social media does do is demystify both the authors to the readers and the readers to the authors, and that makes it all much more relaxed.

Do you do book signing, interviews, speaking and personal appearances? If so, when is your next place where your readers can see you?

You’re asking that just as I’m about to sink into my winter writing cave! I find January and February my most productive writing months, so I tend to guard those. And I think a lot of authors are finding that we make fewer personal appearances now that we’re flitting around social media, because it fills that desire to interact for both authors and readers – don’t you think? What do your readers say? Would they rather see authors in person?

You have great covers. They carry your brand with them. How does your cover process work? Do you hand over the basic theme or do you have more of a hands-on approach? Do you get your readers involved in its development?

Thank you! I started doing all my ebook covers myself. I’ve gradually been seeking out designers to replace some I never cared for and to give the others more polish. I suspect the designers would tell you I’m very hands-on .

I frequently have a vision of what I want (or don’t want), but not the design skills to pull it off. I’ve posted alternative covers/fonts on my Facebook page to get reader input, and I’ve been so impressed by the generous and thoughtful responses. I’ll certainly be doing more of that.

Have you created a book trailer for any of your books to promote your books online?

You’re trying to tempt me, aren’t you? I was talking about video and the software over the holidays with some family … Another bright shiny object to distract me from the writing!

Besides Novelists, Inc. (NINC Past-President), what other support groups do you belong too? Do they help with writing, marketing and the publishing process?

I was involved with a number of groups earlier in my career, and am very thankful for the connections made, especially through the Washington (D.C.) Romance Writers and RWA.

Now, Ninc is my primary support group. One of Ninc’s many strengths is the collegial attitude among the members. From this one group several others have grown where we share information on writing, marketing and the publishing process. One of the benefits of hanging around so long is developing friendships in the publishing world that provide that support via phone, email, Skype and in person.

Between your book writing, blogging, marketing, family and all the other things that can get in your way, how do you manage your time? Do you have a set schedule or do your sort of play it by ear?

No set schedule. I respond well to deadlines, but not set schedules leading up to them. I will try to set daily goals of word count or hours/editing. I’m a pantser writer and in the past have been a binge writer, though I’m trying to adjust that, because it’s getting harder and harder to withdraw from the world for the chunk of time required for being.

Your writing career has bridged the gap between the traditional paper world and the digital look-a-likes. Has the advent of ebooks changed anything in your writing, your marketing and the relationship with your readers and fans?

Absolutely. I made a decision a while back to write what I want to read. (For instance, the humorous western historical romance “Courting a Cowboy” that I released in June started as something I was writing strictly for myself. I thought of it as a Georgette Heyer character goes to Wyoming in the 1880s.) The wonderful thing about ebooks is I’ve found readers who enjoy at least some of the same things I do.

For business reasons, print publishers need to reach a broad audience. With ebooks, I hope lots of readers will enjoy my books, but if it’s only me and a special group of particularly brilliant readers, that’s fine, too. All that has made me much more relaxed with readers in general, and even more awed by fans.

What has been your experience in giving your books away free? Have you been involved in other types of giveaways and how did that work out? What was your main goal in doing this? Did you run into any obstacles?

I love being able to give readers a book for free. This is not because I fail to value my work; I do value my creations. However, reading is so individual and so interactive that no author can say to a reader, “Here, give me your money and I’ll give you a book I know for certain you will love.” By giving a reader a book for free, I allow the reader a chance to judge for him/herself if my voice, characters and world suit them.

If it’s a good match, then I feel good knowing the readers who buy my other books feel good about those purchases. My goal in offering a free book or other giveaway is to provide a stress-free (especially for me ) introduction to my writing … and/or to give a gift to loyal readers.

The only obstacles have been some slowness on the part of retailers and, I suppose, some reviews that don’t give useful information about the reading experience. A negative review is never fun (a yen to go eat worms is often the response if I trip up and look at negative reviews .) However, a negative review with information about the reading experience that can help other readers decide if the book would suit them can be useful.

You publish under two different names and several genres. Does changing hats create any problems? Any tricks you can share with us? Which genre do you enjoy writing the most? Does moving from one to the other give you some breathing room?

Breathing room is a great way to say it. I find switching around keeps me fresher. Perhaps it’s the newspaper background, but I do like having multiple projects perking along. If one starts to falter, it gets moved to a back burner and another comes forward for a bit. Then the back burner one will start humming in my head again and move to front and center. This can happen a couple times in a day. I truly like writing them all. The one benefit of mysteries is I can vicariously knock off a lot of people who’ve irked me over the years .

You’ve published several of your books in Spanish? How has that worked out? How was the translation process?

The Spanish translations have been released by the original print publisher of those books. Though I am very interested in pursuing Spanish and German translations of my indie-published book. That’s on my 2013 Goals list, too. (It’s a loooong list.)

Author's Book List
At the Heart's Command
A Place Called Home, Book 2
Colonel John Griffin Jr. is a good and honorable soldier, determined to protect Ellyn Sinclair at all costs – especially from himself. Once, he’d rejected a young Ellyn’s advances, because he could not give her the life she deserved. Instead, Grif stood up as best man when Ellyn married his best friend. Then, he became a member of the family, godfather to her children. But now Ellyn is a widow, back in Far Hills, Wyoming with her two young children, and having a tough time. And no matter what it costs him, Grif will do his duty – help Ellyn and her children, while ignoring that he has never stopped wanting her.
Buy Page: Amazon - Barnes and Noble - Smashwords - iTunes
Word Watch
A Writer's Guide to the Slippery, Sneaky and Otherwise Tricky
Welcome to a word usage book with attitude. (Some say humor, too, but nearly everyone agrees on attitude.) WORD WATCH is a compilation of columns written over several years for Update, the newsletter of the Washington (D.C.) Romance Writers, and Novel Ideas, the newsletter of the Virginia Romance Writers. It stemmed from a conversation with a fellow author, who suggested – none too gently – that Word Watch quit griping about words being misused by writers and do something about it. So, here it is: An attempt to share a lifetime of word usage scrutiny and a journalistic career of picky editing. HOW TO USE WORD WATCH – To look up a specific word or phrase, check the alphabetical inventory at the beginning of this book. Then click on the capitalized link (or links) associated with it to go to that discussion. – Read the columns month by month. – Browse at will. – Engrave on your heart.
Buy Page: Amazon - Barnes and Noble
A Stranger in the Family
Book 1, Bardville, Wyoming Trilogy
A sexy, intriguing stranger arrives unexpectedly at her Wyoming ranch, threatening the one thing Cambria protects more fiercely than her heart - her family. Bodie's discovery that he fathered a son 17 years ago starts a search that leads him to the warm and welcoming Weston family. But his response to one member of the family is far more than he ever expected. The sparks between him and Cambria are real ... and so is the danger to his hopes for their future if she finds out why he's really in Wyoming. ". . . It's one of those books that when you finish, you think, "I'm definitely going to read that again and everything else this author has ever written!" - Live, Love, Write
Buy Page: Amazon - Barnes and Noble - iTunes
Wedding Party
The Wedding Series, Book 2
Michael Dickinson is delighted to be best man at his friend's wedding - but there's one complication. Tris Donlin is a bridesmaid. He's wanted her for longer than he cares to remember, but to her, he's just good old Michael - college pal, confidant, best buddy ... Would a few days of wedding celebration let him finally get her out of his system once and for all? Her cousin Paul's wedding party has Tris's head and heart full of memories of college days with him, Michael and their friend Grady. Grady was her college crush and Michael was her buddy. Now that they're all grown up, my how things have changed. She's certain she's found the best man for her . . . if only she can convince him.
Buy Page: Amazon - Barnes and Noble - iTunes
Almost a Bride
Wyoming Wildflowers Book 1
Dave Currick was everything Matty Brennan wanted for as along as she could remember. Right up until he broke her heart six years ago. Now that she's returned to Wyoming for good, what she wants more than anything is to save her family's ranch. Even if that means swallowing her pride and asking Dave to marry her. Matty's up to something - Dave knows that much. Just as he knows that Matty needs help, so of course he'll provide it, just as he has all her life. Doing what's best for Matty is second nature. Even when it comes to marrying her in name only. Although he can't resist one hot-blooded kiss after the I-dos. Maybe - just maybe - his Matty will become more to him than Almost a Bride.
Buy Page: Amazon - Barnes and Noble - Smashwords - iTunes
My Heart Remembers
Wyoming Wildflowers - Book 3
Lisa Currick was once as bright and open as the sunny Bur Marigold wildflower of her native Wyoming. That's how New York City Detective Shane Garrison has remembered her since she figured in his first investigation eight years ago. But when he arrives in her hometown determined to resolve the final element of that case, he discovers the girl he's remembered has become a very different woman. Once open-hearted and artistic, Lisa has put all that aside for a life of order and discipline. And Shane wants to know why. He can't forget the girl, but he's fascinated by the woman who challenges him to find answers inside himself.
Buy Page: Amazon - Barnes and Noble - Smashwords - iTunes
Match Made in Wyoming
Wyoming Wildflowers Book 2
When fire ravages Wyoming land, fireweed is among the first plants to return, brightening a blighted area with the joy of its blooms. Small-town lawyer Taylor Anne Larsen faces the challenge of doing the same for the pain-ravaged heart and disbelieving soul of ranch foreman Cal Ruskoff. Armed with the same grace and grit as the wildflower fireweed, Taylor also has allies - a matchmaking friend, the Wyoming winter, high-octane mutual attraction, and a rescued puppy who slips past Cal's defenses. Cal might give in to passion temporarily, but from behind the wall he's built around his past and his secrets, he's certain Taylor is all that he can't let himself have. And he'll use all his weapons to keep her out. Author's note: The collie puppy in Match Made in Wyoming is the alter ego of my much-loved rescue collie Riley ... right down to the inconvenient penchant for opening doors at the wrong moment. Although for Taylor and Cal, it turns out to be the right moment. :-)
Buy Page: Amazon - Barnes and Noble - Smashwords - iTunes
A Stranger to Love
Book 2, Bardville, Wyoming Trilogy
She's been a stranger to love for so long ... Now, because she will not abandon a boy who is both trouble and troubled, she's tied to this intense, stubborn man who arouses her in ways she's never known ... and who could break her completely. Can she take the risk of finding a stranger to love?
Buy Page: Amazon - Barnes and Noble - iTunes
Lost and Found Groom
A Place Called Home, Book 1
"While following a story in distant Santa Estella, hardheaded journalist Kendra Jenner finds herself in the middle of a vicious hurricane. . .and unexpectedly in the arms of a stranger who speaks virtually no English. Fear leads to passion leads to their making a baby, a baby which Kendra fully expects to raise on her own, since her search for Matthew's father - who she only knows as Paulo Ayudor - is a fruitless one. Then, three years later, her "Paulo" shows up out of the blue at her home in Wyoming, speaking the perfect English of an American, and identifying himself as Daniel Delligati. He announces he's come for his son. . .and for her." -- (From an Amazon review by Karen Templeton)
Buy Page: Amazon - Barnes and Noble - Smashwords - iTunes
Prelude to a Wedding
The Wedding Series Book 1
Charming Paul Monroe has the Peter Pan thing down pat. As an antique toy appraiser, even his work involves play. Which is fine, unless your job is to keep his Chicago business running smoothly . . . and all that charm -- and sexiness -- is aimed at you. Organization and reliability are Bette Wharton's hallmarks. She handles the toughest clients with aplomb, until Paul provides a challenge that goes way beyond the office. She has a plan and a timetable. How can she let herself fall for Mr. Live-for-the-Moment when all he offers is Love-for-the-Moment?
Buy Page: Amazon - Barnes and Noble - iTunes
Hidden in a Heartbeat
A Place Called Home, Book 3
Rebecca Dahlgren comes to Far Hills Ranch hoping for answers to her unknown heritage. But from the first moment, she finds foreman Luke Chandler hard to miss. The sexy cowboy with the sleepy eyes that aren't interested in sleeping means just the sort of trouble her patrician grandmother has always warned about. Luke has his own reasons for wanting to steer clear of anything like commitment. But the secrets behind Rebecca’s dark eyes keep luring him on … even if it means baring his own heart.
Buy Page: Amazon - Barnes and Noble - Smashwords - iTunes
Author Recommended by: HBSystems Publications
Publisher of ebooks, writing industry blogger and the sponsor of the HBS Author's Spotlight plus the blog: eBook Author’s Corner. Check out the index of other Spotlight authors. Spotlight Index.

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